This column was originally published on my website in January 2008. Some of the original links have disappeared since then, but I’ll include everything I can.
When we think of making our businesses “green,” we should be thinking of more than our earnings. We should be doing business in the most eco-friendly ways possible.
Green has become a very fashionable color again. The rumors of the death of environmentalism have been highly exaggerated. In fact, ecological-correctness has become a corporate goal and marketing strategy. Consumers are becoming more eco-aware — buying hybrid cars, organic foods and recycled products. Even Harry Potter has gone green. [There was a link about Harry Potter, but that’s gone now.]
Here are some things to think about — “green” resolutions, if you will — while you’re conducting business throughout the new year and beyond.
Buy “green” supplies. Eco-friendly supplies encompass more than just recycled printing paper. They include items such as: stationary and business cards;* binders, notebooks, folders, labels and CD cases; remanufactured printer cartridges and checks printed with non-toxic ink on recycled paper; not to mention calendars, Post-It Notes and even writing instruments made of post-consumer material. You can also start a recycling program at work, for paper, plastic bottles and cans that get tossed throughout the day.
Engage in eco-friendly marketing. Are you sending out newsletters or brochures by snail mail? You can print them on recycled paper or, even better, consider going electronic. Email marketing doesn’t kill trees or require postage. You could also start a company blog. Blogging has gone so corporate, several major companies, including Coca-Cola, Dell and General Motors (to name a few) have founded something called the Blog Council “as a forum for executives to meet one another in a private, vendor-free environment and share tactics, offer advice based on past experience, and develop standards-based best practices as a model for other corporate blogs.”
Hold “green” events. Think of all the networking events, trade shows and conferences you’ve organized or attended (or even big meetings or conferences at your office); now, think of all the bottled water, canned soda, plates, cups, utensils and food used or consumed at them. Were recycling bins provided to dispose of bottles and cans? If not, why not? All those plates, cups and utensils can be made from biodegradable material [http://tinyurl.com/364lbx]. As for the food, fruits and veggies can be local, in-season and/or organic. Deli meat comes preservative-, hormone- and gluten-free. Consider these things if you’re involved in planning a big business event. If necessary, you can always seek help from a “green” event planner. Anyhow, if the U.S. House of Representatives can switch to eco-friendly food service, you can do it, too.
Conserve energy at work. Does your office have energy-efficient lighting? If you work at home, it’s a simple matter to switch to new energy-efficient bulbs. If you work in an office, see if the building management is using energy-efficient lighting and occupancy sensors in rest rooms, so lights are used only when needed. Put up signs urging employees to turn off lights when leaving a room unoccupied. Use energy-efficient computer monitors, copiers and printers that require less electricity to use and, when not in use, switch to low-power mode.
Think “green” when you travel. Do you take frequent business trips? If so, try to stay at environmentally-conscious hotels. This also applies to booking hotels for conferences and trade shows (see Item 3). Eat at “green” restaurants. Using online resources, determine how much carbon dioxide your travels emit and contribute the appropriate amount to a carbon offset program.
Cultivate “green” customers. Are your products or services geared toward environmentally-conscious buyers? I’d refer you to this online publication, but as you can see, that link is dead and gone no longer works.
In general, stay up-to-date and aware of the issues by following the news and reading online “green” news sites like Grist, which will also email you the latest environmental news summaries and other features, if you ask them.
So, contrary to what this fellow says, it’s actually not that hard being “green.” The resources are out there; now, it’s up to you to use them.
*Most of the links provided to various companies, products, services or organizations aren’t an endorsement; they just happened to come up first in my Google searching. However, I do get Grist headlines daily and highly recommend it as an environmental news and information source.
PS: I’ve done my best to substitute new links for the ones that have vanished since January 2008.
And since then, these little buggers have come along! :-O
My what a quaint little piece this is. 🙂